Canberra to deploy 300 troops across NSW to combat COVID-19 surge

Canberra will deploy Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel across greater Sydney today amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. According to

ADF COVID

Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

Canberra will deploy Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel across greater Sydney today amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to Defense Minister Peter Dutton, ADF will deploy up to 300 troops, to be spread across eight COVID-19 hotspots in New South Wales (NSW). The contingent will work under the direction of NSW police to assist in enforcing COVID-19 prevention regulations.

Case numbers in greater Sydney have spiked sharply, hitting a record daily high of 239 last week. Local restrictions across NSW have included the mandatory wearing of masks in public areas and travel limits on shopping and personal visits.

ADF deployment is likely a response to July 24 demonstrations, which saw thousands crowd the streets of Australian cities protesting lockdown restrictions. Canberra’s willingness to supplement local police with military resources speaks to its desperation in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s most populous state and a desire to send a message to violators of lockdown restrictions. While this move is likely to deter some from breaking the rules, protests may flareup as other residents of NSW question the intrusion of the military into civil society. Canberra may contemplate sending ADF personnel to other parts of Australia should cases climb elsewhere.

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